Newest Citizen Journalists Meg and Chelsea Getting "On the Bus!"

Now they may not look like Woodward and Bernstein, but you've got to start somewhere.
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....that is, an ACLU-chartered bus (about 20 hours one-way) to cover the "Day of Action to Restore Law and Justice" this Tuesday, June 26 in Washington D.C.

Now they may not look much like Woodward and Bernstein, but you've got to start somewhere! It remains to be seen what will result from the long bus ride, giving the fourteen and fifteen year old a couple of lessons on how to run a "Handycam" recorder (with batteries all re-charged and DVDs pre-formatted), and forcing them both to go on the internet for a few minutes to find out about the Military Commissions Act, loss of the right to habeas corpus and what "alternative interrogation techniques" really mean. But I told them they might be covering history in the making.

This may be pushing the concept of "citizen journalism" too far. On the other hand, who knows if the teenagers won't do a better job with that notoriously difficult-to-reach group--other teenagers (whose futures are at stake but don't know it)? At the very least, it stands to reason they will do a better job than, say, someone like their 52 year old (emphasis on the old) mother. When I suggested they might want to get more background on the GWOT and civil liberties issues ahead of time by reading "How NOT to Counter Terrorism," the paper that I and (even older) colleagues (the Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity group) drafted a few days ago, Meg and Chelsea just rolled their eyes.

But therein lies the beauty of a "citizen journalism" initiative. If such an initiative can attract a wide variety of people, of all different ages, backgrounds, experiences, knowledge and interests, it promises to be a better way to connect with and get greater numbers of people to care about the issues that matter. Or, in the case of Meg and Chelsea, about the issues that will matter (even more to their generation than to the rest of us old-timers).

"Great minds think alike" is what someone once told me and it must be true because, amazingly enough, on the very same day HuffPo launched its "Off the Bus" citizen journalism initiative, a handful of us in the southern suburbs of Minneapolis-St. Paul, were already meeting for the second time with almost the exact same idea, to plan our first "Angst to Action" citizen journalism training event.

By the way, here's part of our recruitment ad for "Angst to Action!"

Laying on the couch won't help. And neither will shopping. Trusting, hoping, and fretting are not going to pull us out of the tail spin either. Molly Ivins was right when she said that ultimately WE are the Deciders. We all have the power to do something to counter the fear, hate, greed and arrogance in that Kool-aid that Karl Rove and his ilk have been serving up.

So if you've been waiting to tap into your inner educator/communicator, to transform your angst into something more constructive, learn to blog, write letters to the editor... make, edit and publish videos of progressive events...learn about podcasts, and local radio/TV activist opportunities...become a "citizen journalist" and/or join our burgeoning Speakers Bureau and "Think Tank."

PS: If Meg and Chelsea can do it, probably anyone can.

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